Many of the people I train on SEO and search engines have little or no previous knowledge about search technology other than their own personal experience of using Google to find information online.
At the beginning of every SEO training course I conduct a quick straw poll to gauge how much the group understands about search technology and how they feel about the factors that might be affecting their search results. In an effort to test these responses using a more empirical method, I commissioned a survey in conjunction with CINT. We asked a census-representative sample of 1000 U.S. citizens how they felt about organic search, PPC, personalization, social search and SEO.
The results were, for the most part, consistent with my own findings and indicate a revealing, and often surprising, range of attitudes, misconceptions and behaviours. Of particular interest to those working in SEO is likely to be the overall positive attitude towards sites that rank prominently in organic SERPS compared to those that appear as sponsored listings, even where there exists little or no understanding of what makes a page rank prominently on Google.
I hope that this research will be helpful to any SEOs who need to convince their clients or employer of the merits of organic search over other, less-trusted forms of online marketing.
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